Actually, Mangalore plan was there in my mind from the very day we returned from coorg cycling trip of 222km.
Event was created in facebook just 5 days prior to departure date. 6 of my enthusiastic students dropped out of the plan when sponsorship was turned down. Myself, Prasanna, Vibhas and Mukhesh (student of DBIT) prepared ourselves to do cycling for a cause i.e to campaign for the event “Save the Artic -Ice Ride” organized by Green Peace India in order to protest against oil rigging in Artic Region by Shell and many more oil companies.
On the day of departure, My Brother caved in despite his work restrictions. We departed from Malleshwaram at 5:30pm on 7th and by the time we reached Nelmangala Cross it was 8:30pm. Hail Bangalore traffic!
On the way, we had arranged for a Head Torch, Reflectors for the cycles and Radium to strap against our backpacks; all three a must required safety measure during night cycling. We could not attach the reflectors to the cycles as there were no mud guards so as to reduce the weight of the cycle. We attached the radium strips to our backpack to serve the purpose of reflectors. We cycled for around 15km on Bangalore-Mangalore highway and decided to rest. We started our exploration of a dainty place to pitch in tents.
We saw a nice ground near an isolated house and knocked the door @11:15pm to get permission to pitch tents to avoid a brawl with locals. And finally we realized that we were knocking the door of a Mosque!!! With no other choice, we camped there. We had pedaled extra 3km after our mind retired from cycling for that day to avoid camping near a Bar in a village. Even after taking this extra care, at 2am on 8th, started a nightmare; few drunkards entered the ground and started quarrelling among themselves and we were worried about bicycles worth 25000/- each. Myself, Prasanna and suneeth witnessed the drama while Vibhas and Mukhesh started snoring soon after lying inside the tents. I was peeping from the tent to look at our beloved bicycles almost every half a minute till they vanished in the dark!
Finally slept at 2:30am and got up at 4:45am in order to pedal much more distance and give a recognizable image to our campaigning.
We sped at our maximum speed till 9:30am on 18th then speed reduced because of disc brake problem on Prasanna’s bicycle. Disc brake was jammed and when we rotated the wheel by hand to inspect it, it rotated only 5 rotations and stopped. Don’t know how far he had cycled in that condition. I appreciate the effort of prasanna! We repaired it with great ease as I had came across this plight in coorg cycling trip.
Situation got worse when Mukhesh’s front wheel got punctured. We removed the wheel and I carried it to nearest puncture shop which was 3km away. I applaud the way Mukhesh pedaled the entire trip. He lagged behind us only during this period of time. I and suneeth being second timers tried to compete with Mukhesh but …… he was always leading us.
I and Suneeth were carrying each tent and we were reluctant to pass over it as we wanted to create another milestone of cycling with 6kg backpack and tent.
Situation got worst when I broke the lock nut of front wheel while fastening the wheel in haste to start the journey again. It was impossible to replace that part in any of the nearby village or town. The lock nut availability was showing us the way back to Bangalore. After a long discussion, finally came to a conclusion of welding the part but got it only after 4.5hrs. We ate little cursing power failure in the village.
Series of such circumstances set back our confidence of reaching mangalore within scheduled duration. Mangalore was out of our thought. Even reaching sakleshpur and cycling Bisle Ghat and camping at the peak were at a light distance away. At this point, all of us started talking different plans.
- Taking extra leave, cycling to mangalore
- Taking extra leave, cycling to Sakleshpur and trek Bisle Ghat
- Cycling to Hassan instead of Mangalore
- Going in truck till Sakleshpura and cycling down the hill to reach mangalore
But all plans came to cliff end when we could not book bus back to Bangalore from any of the debated places. Thanks to Ganesha (Festival).
I was pretty sure that my entire unrealistic plan/dream crumbled to the grounds. So I decided to persist in cycling till the distance is 120km away from Bangalore and return back by cycling so that at least our previous record of 222km is broken!
Newly set goal made a drastic change in the level of enthusiasm. We pedaled faster to reach 120km and return back to Belur cross where we planned to camp-in in one of the under-constructed building. We got struck in rain 3km off the Belur Cross. Lightning and thunderstorm reminded me of KumaraParvatha’s unforgettable gift! (Read post on KumaraParvatha trek)
Next morning got up late and reached Belur Cross from where Prasanna went to Bangalore by bus as he was in severe agony. (Prasanna’s cycling distance =120km). Vibhas too never gave up till the end and was eager to do cycling as much as possible.
We were so eager to reach Bangalore on 9th by 6pm to give rest to “bums on fire”. We pedaled 120km in 8hrs (15km/hr, consistently) keeping the image of our beds in our mind!!
All along the way we did DDT. To know more about DDT and experience the challenges, Join us during next adventure.
Special thanks to those who encouraged us, who appreciated our effort, who gave their mobile number to contact in case of emergency, who got astonished seeing CYCLING MANIACS, innocent kids who demanded an explanation about working of gears, nature and scenery.
Thanks to those who pulled our shorts before we could start our trip, who irritated us by shouting at us as if they are seeing aliens.
All of them are stake holders of our success.
ADVICES AND LESSONS LEARNT FROM PAST TWO CYCLING TRIPS
- Use front disc brake only when you are about to crash!
- Avoid pedaling under the sun.
- Use reflectors or radium if you are planning cycling at night.
- Plan cycling events leaving a day to rest.
FINALLY, WE DID IT!